Untitled“The 2010 floods were devastating. We witnessed and suffered loss of lives and property in our village. It gave rise to one question: why could we not cope with such a situation?”
“In early February 2013, the CAMP team arrived in our village with a project on disasters and precautionary measures. It formed a group (Disaster Management Group) of volunteers in our village comprising five men and three women. I volunteered to join this group and luckily I got selected. We were trained on disaster risk reduction and preparedness measures through a four-day training. At the end of the training, our group received a toolkit which contained many useful tools and equipment. We transferred the knowledge to our village households through short sessions and distributed posters with information on disaster risk reduction. We built linkages with the concerned government authorities who could be contacted during disaster scenarios. We developed a village level contingency plan to follow during disasters identifying potential human resources, communal building for seeking refuge, safe passages, transportation, and early warning system.
“On 2 August 2013, we were intimated through our locally established early warning system about flood approaching our village. The DMG members gathered urgently and, as per village contingency plan, duties were assigned to each member. All assets including stored grains, furniture and appliances were kept in safe places. Livestock were unfastened and marked for identification. Women and children were ready to leave and go to safer places along with food, clothing and drinking water. Safe routes were shown to volunteers having vehicles and tractor trolleys to escort women, children, and the elderly. Volunteers started building a protection wall using toolkit items like wheel barrows, spades and ropes with sand bags on the bank of the perennial stream to stop the flood water from entering the village. Soon flood water started entering the village. The concerned government departments were informed in advance and their officials reached well in time and offered best possible assistance.
“Miraculously, water level began receding and in a couple of hours the stream started to flow in its channel.”
“A big calamity was averted; there was no human loss, no livestock was lost, and all our assets remained safe. Our linkages with government departments proved useful as they reached the village in time. Techniques learned through the training were very useful and the toolkit was of great help. We cannot stop natural disasters but with knowledge and skills we can minimise the loss.” (Sakhi, age 19, student, resident of Mohallah Ziaryani, Momin Garhi, Nowshera District).